Today I’ve invited my dear friend Cindy — Lucinda Secrest McDowell — to share a powerful word with us…
In the days preceding the New Year, one word kept clamoring for my attention from surprising places – dwell.
I read it in my psalm for the day “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalm 91.1)
I noticed “DWELL” on the masthead of a glossy magazine all about clean living spaces. I uttered it as an admonition to someone – “Don’t dwell on your past mistakes.”
Hard not to notice it, so I became curious. And finally turned to God in prayer and whispered, “Okay. Dwell. Please reveal what You want me to learn from this word.”
So as my word-for-the-year marinated in heart and mind, I embraced both meanings of dwell: 1. to live and 2. to focus.
It soon became obvious that all too often I live amidst hurry and obligation, dwelling in anxiety and surrounded by noise. And where was my default focus — circumstances, lists, self-preservation, tasks, things?
Throughout the Bible God calls His people to dwell with Him constantly. He offers us a refuge and shelter and He fills it with a beauty and peace that is restorative. And, best of all, He sends Jesus Christ to dwell in our hearts and make His home with us forever!
Would you like some of that in your life?
First we must acknowledge that God is the only One who can provide such a life for us. Moses, that great wanderer, knew this. God had long ago promised to be with him wherever he journeyed. So even though he was often a stranger in a strange land, Moses was confident in his true dwelling:
“Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations… from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” (Psalm 90.1-2)
And this same God invites us to dwell with Him!
In the original language of the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for dwell is yashab which is translated “to dwell, to sit down, to remain.”
How can we possibly do this? Sitting down is considered unproductive – we are a culture on the move! Believe me, friend, I know the challenges of making time for close communion with God in prayer and study – that’s why I try to focus on one word a day from God’s Word.
We can do that!
After all, we have certainly dwelt everywhere else — we give our time and resources to other places, people and projects without a second thought. And all along, God is there with us, offering us His continual presence no matter where our journey might lead.
Do you have a difficult appointment today? He’ll go with you. Do you cry yourself to sleep at night? He’s beside you, holding you close.
His constant presence is the greatest gift of all.
©2016 Lucinda Secrest McDowell Excerpted from “Dwelling Places” by Lucinda Secrest McDowell (Abingdon Press)
Lucinda Secrest McDowell is passionate about embracing life — both through deep soul care from drawing closer to God, as well as living courageously in order to touch a needy world. A storyteller who engages both heart and mind, she offers “Encouraging Words” to all on the journey. A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, Cindy is the author of twelve books, including Dwelling Places, Live These Words, Refresh!, Amazed by Grace, Quilts from Heaven and Role of a Lifetime. She writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and blogs weekly at EncouragingWords.net
* By the way, the palm tree graphic with the title “Where Do You Dwell?” is a photo of an eagle’s nest in the shelter of a mountain in the Seychelles Islands!
Virtual VBS for GrownUp Girls® Assignment
It’s Week Four in our free online summer Bible study, Virtual VBS for GrownUp Girls® ~ Summer in the Psalms. If you’re participating, here are your instructions for this week…
Choose a reading plan:
1) Soaking in the Psalms ~ Savor 4 Psalms a week. This week’s Psalms are Psalm 77, 78, 91, and 100.
Remember, this is “active reading” – asking questions as you read, underlining key words and phrases, making note of things that come to mind. Journal about verses that speak to you. For more tips, see Five Simple Ways to Focus on the Words You Read.
2) Surfing through the Psalms ~ Read through the entire book of Psalms during our six-week study. This week, read Psalms 76-100. (which includes the “Soaking” Psalms — see above).
This week’s verse is Psalm 91:2 NLT ~ It’s in the graphic below and on our VBS Pinterest board.
If you’re just joining us – You can catch up by reading past posts on our Virtual VBS for GrownUp Girls® Archive page or by hitting the “back” button at the bottom of this post and scrolling through.
On Thursday I’ll be announcing a special giveaway — stay tuned!